‘She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.’ Proverbs 31:21
I’m going to make a bold statement and say that ‘this winter has been the harshest in years!’ Harsh in terms of weather across the entire country of course, but worse, it’s been a beast of a winter for the sensitive types of this world. I can see it. I can feel it. In the eyes of friends and strangers alike. I see the darkness of this season staring back at me in the mirror every morning. The pungent energy of a bloodsucking season – a necessary evil in the cycle of life.
Expectation & Disappointment
Winter has never been friendly to me, at least not for as long as I can remember. The thing is, I always chalked it up to the holidays rather than the season. I’m certain now, that it’s both and always has been. I never understood the overwhelming sickness and sadness within me when Autumn would abandon us making way for Winter. I always felt the shift and the struggle, but I never saw it for what it was. Always sure to remain actively distracted with purpose and responsibility. Sure, to leave little room for time spent with one’s own thoughts.
The truth is, I could never escape it. I always tried to make the best of it, all the while wishing the season would pass quickly and without consequence. The holidays are a Type-A’s personal hell. Year after year, I dreaded the holiday crawl from Halloween to New Year’s Eve. And still, I found myself eagerly making my list of things-to-do in preparation for every single holiday rounding the corner.
- Expect too much
- Set the bar ridiculously high
- Expect perfection
- Leave no room for error
- Repeat 1-4 until you find a reason to be disappointed
- Decide the day is a total waste
- Decide it’s all your fault
The darkness I feel during the holidays is only compounded by my need to make others happy. Several years ago, I discussed the issue with my Dad. The issue of my uneasiness with the holidays, not my need for perfection. He theorized that my sadness during the holidays may be a reflection of my parent’s marital struggles. My Dad explained they had separated twice during the holidays, the second being the year they would decide to divorce. I remember very little about this time of my life, but what I do remember is anything but pleasant.
Destruction & Desperation
Every winter since my accident has been a blizzard of destruction, leaving me and mine stranded in the freezing cold darkness of night. The first year ended with major back surgery, a nervous breakdown, and severing ties. The winter of 2013 started it all, I gave it a good fight, but the first winter created a path. A path I happily embraced for fear of further pain. I spent 2014 hiding and hibernating only to find myself allowing for boundaries to be blurred and in-laws to interfere. A disaster of my own creation – my kindness once again leaving me in a canyon of dysfunction and destruction.
The winter of 2014 would mark a moment of desperation. A moment reflection; what was once a safe-haven was now a war zone. Evidence of the destruction and ruin glaring back at me at every turn. I begged him to make her go. I swallowed my shame and I begged him to choose me over his own Mother. I wanted to hide, to run, to be unseen, and I found the strength to beg. Emotions flying and tempers flaring, my emotional flashbacks returned. A gift I could have lived without. This winter holds the prize for wounding me the most. Dark memories of running and abandoning my son on the doorstep. Hiding. Alone. Terrified and confused in the darkness of a seedy hotel room.
Faith & Determination
A fought hard that winter, and I made it through, but Spring didn’t bring the reprieve I thought it would. Counseling stopped. Problems ignored. Patterns repeated. I had to escape my prison. An impulsive solo trip to Ohio, an illness, and a drastic life change catapulted me into the BEST winter of my life. The winter of 2015 goes down in history as the moment I reached goal weight and started getting active. In October I found myself 90lbs lighter and eager to get off the couch. I had spent six months eating a vegan diet (for health reasons), and I felt amazing. I was living a life free of comfort food and caffeine and I had more energy than ever.
I spent the winter moving; finding any and every excuse to walk. What started out as an attempt to see what I could handle, turned into a season of fitness and health. I joined a gym, and I actually used it. I spent time with a trainer. I tried every machine. I tried every class. I found what I loved, and I committed to a routine. I would love to say I was free of pain, but I wasn’t. I was distracted and running on adrenaline. But for the first time since my accident, I had a purpose, and purpose in my world is a very powerful tool. Purpose drives me! The winter of 2015 was a time of rebirth and renewal. It was the beginning of something truly beautiful. It was the beginning of leaning into God, and allowing Him to introduce me to the little girl hiding within. It was the beginning of it all.
…… to be continued